I started writing seriously in 2015, though I probably should have realized a lot sooner that I was meant to be a writer. Even as early as kindergarten, I struggled to pay attention in class because the outside world was just not as interesting as what was going on in my head. By that time, I had already made my storytelling debut ("Squirm the Worm," delivered at age three) and had spent countless hours playing make-believe with my 284 stuffed animals, every one of whom had a name and detailed backstory.
Though I quickly learned to pay attention (or at least look like I was paying attention) during school hours, I retained a tendency to daydream and a love of stories. When I left high school to attend the Sunderman Conservatory at Gettysburg College, I learned to translate both emotional and programmatic content into music. Now, as an exam prep and college essay tutor, I have the time and flexibility to really dig into fiction again. My work has appeared online and in print in such venues as Timeless Tales Magazine and Quantum Fairy Tales.
What’s In A Name?
If you’ve visited my publications page, you might have noticed that my early works were published under the pen name Tamara Linden. At the time, I thought there were too many Cassandra, Kass, and Cass’s out there, so I decided to go by my middle name, Tamara. After about a year, though, I realized that I hated being called Tamara (somehow it hadn’t occurred to me that people would actually be addressing me by my pen name), and I missed being me. So I reclaimed my identity, with a slight compromise. Kassandra Flamouri is as close as you can reasonably get to my full name, which is probably the longest, Greek-est thing you'll ever see. I've shortened my surname to just the root word, flamouri, which is the Greek name for trees of the genus Tilia. In many English-speaking countries, these trees are called lindens.
Speaking Of Identity…
A writer, in my experience, is very rarely just a writer, especially in a society that doesn’t want to pay for art. Money and bills aside, though, the different hats a writer wears all influence the writer’s work to varying degrees. I know mine have. So what are my hats?
My Greek heritage has absolutely shaped who I am as a person and as a writer. My interest in mythology opened me up to a world of magic that directly influences my writing to this day, and the sense of identity and belonging has been a source of both comfort and plot-fueling angst (just ask any child of immigrants about what I call the Neither/Nor/Not Enough Dilemma).
I’m a Musician
Music was my passion for a very long time, and it’s still one of my greatest joys in life. For a while, I was even making some money from composition commissions and singing folk music.
Fun fact: I also play the flute. In fact, it was my primary instrument and won me a conservatory scholarship. However, my unusually bendy ligaments (and my lukewarm feelings toward classical and art music) prevented me from going after a career in performance.
I’m a Tutor
My mother had me start taking the SAT when I was 13 years old. By the time I finished high school, I must have taken the test seven or eight times. At the time, of course it felt like torture. But when I graduated from college and there were no jobs to be found in my field, I signed on with a franchise tutoring company because “well, I know I can do that,” and, to my surprise, I fell in love with it. Turns out exam prep is a hell of a lot more fun when you’re getting paid to do it. Go figure. But, in all seriousness, I love helping students reach their goals and having a job that keeps my mind engaged. And I get to talk about reading and writing! A lot!
Last but definitely not least, I’m a pet mom.
The distinguished gentleman in black is Loki, aged 16. He’s a very grumpy old man, and I love him. We have had many an excellent lap snuggle over the years.
This little princess is Skye, the newest addition to the family. We set out to adopt a gentle, affectionate, medium energy dog and ended up with a very sweet but very high energy herding dog. She certainly keeps us on our toes, but she could not be more loved.